Thursday, September 22, 2005


I'm on my own tonight, as The Scotsman is on a business trip to exotic Crawley. I'm fine by myself, but, like anybody, I fall victim to Alone In The House Syndrome.

This involves hearing any tiny creak or breeze, and interpreting it as the footsteps of a mad psychopath. This leads to me adopting my normal defence when there might be somebody in the house. I sit up in bed and shout "Hello"

Now, The Scotsman laughs at this. This is not, apparently, an appropriate word with which to confront a burglar. I disagree.

The average burglar does not relish a confrontation. Yes, there are reconstructions on Crimewatch where burglars have harmed their victims, but these are rare. If most burglars are disturbed, they get the hell out. Unless you are borrowing the Topkapi diamond for the weekend, you're video isn't worth the complication of tangling with you. So they hear you stirring, they go.

What isn't sensible is the male tendency to greet the possibility of a burglar as an opportunity to creep downstairs, as silently as possible, to confront a chap who is probably carrying a weapon. You're sleepy, nervous, and equipped with a torch. He's psyched up, ready for violence, and probably still holding something like a crowbar. And he'll probably leave if you make enough noise stomping around upstairs...

So follow my example by loudly exclaiming that you are about to call the police, and you should be fine.